PBKS stand-in captain Sam Curran, and Liam Livingstone IPL 2024.
PBKS stand-in captain Sam Curran, and Liam Livingstone IPL 2024. Image Credit: X

With the news of England players missing the last two weeks of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, Punjab Kings (PBKS) received a huge blow as three of their eight overseas players are set to fly home early.

The captain of the PBKS Shikhar Dhawan is already injured and has missed a significant part of the tournament. There is also no news of when he could make his return in the tournament. The stand-in captain Sam Curran is set to head home back at the end of their next game against the Rajasthan Royals at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati.

The other two England players are their opener Jonny Bairstow and injured Liam Livingstone, both of whom are set to take on Pakistan in the upcoming four-match T20I series, as a preparation for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, set to take place in the West Indies and the United States of America (USA).

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With no Dhawan, and Curran missing two, PBKS are looking at options to lead them during their away last league game against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

PBKS look for potential candidates to lead them against SRH

Punjab didn’t have a great season in this IPL, as they find themselves at the bottom of the points table with four wins in 12 games at a net run rate (NRR) of -0.423.

After a winning start in the campaign against the Delhi Capitals (DC), PBKS fell on two back-to-back games. They made a successful 200-run chase against the Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad thanks to an incredible knock of unbeaten 61 runs in 29 balls from Shashank Singh, while Ashutosh Sharma stood up for his 31 runs in 17 balls.

Since that game, they lost four consecutive fixtures, before entering history with the highest successful chase in the history of T20s when they reached 262/2 in 18.4 overs against the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens.

But their 60-run loss in the last game against the Royal Challengers Bengaluru eliminated the PBKS from the 17th season of the competition for the 10th back-to-back season since they became the runners-up in 2014.

With the return of Sam Curran, PBKS are looking for their leader in the last league game. In the list of probable candidates, two names that have come out are Harshal Patel and Shashank Singh.

The former has been in good form in this season, being the joint-highest wicket-taker with 20 scalps in 12 innings at an economy of 9.75. In his old days with RCB, Harshal was part of the ‘leadership group’ and also was involved in making crucial decisions.

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The new Superstar of the league, Shashank Singh too has been in rich form, notching up 352 runs in 12 innings of the IPL 2024, at an average of 58.66 and a strike rate of 168.42, with a couple of half-centuries.

The PBKS youngster could be good for the leadership role, given his experience of managing veteran players like Dinesh Karthik, Ayush Badoni, and Shikhar Dhawan during the DY Patil Invitational T20 tournament. They could also look at Jitesh Sharma as an option if they plan to keep him in the side in the future.

PBKS will take on Rajasthan Royals next on May 15, at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati.